How To Leave An Abusive Relationship


1 x 30'

Production company


Year of production


Commissioning channels

Channel 5



On average two women a week are killed by their partners, and the frightening reality is that it can happen to anyone ... “domestic abuse doesn’t recognise age, class, cultural background or education.”

In this film seven experts ( including a policeman, family doctor, therapist, domestic violence advisor, refuge manager, victim support officer ) give practical and emotional advice, outlining the essential steps which would allow a victim of domestic abuse to prepare themselves to walk away safely.

For many the most accessible means of support are the police and the family doctor, familiar faces who know you and your family, who are trained to recognise abuse and can pass victims onto a range of services from counselling and relocation to legal representatives. The experts highlight the practical steps which should be taken - including which documents are needed, and which personal items to take with you - before someone leaves the home they share with an abusive partner. And if you are not ready to leave they give practical advice about how to protect yourself against a future attack. Policeman Mike, who has personal experience of abuse from his own childhood, explains how the police can provide community support on a continuing basis, including how restraining orders can provide respite to victims choosing to stay in their own homes.
The film also explores the refuge system which offers privacy and respite for victims and access to specially trained professionals.

The documentary also looks at the psychology behind domestic abuse. Controlling, manipulative behaviour and mental abuse are often the precursor to violence, with perpetrators often isolating their subjects from friends and family whilst enforcing an idea of their own worthlessness, making the abuse an almost-impossible cycle to break.

Both enlightening and compassionate, this documentary offers insight, reassurance and practical help to victims of domestic abuse – in the hope that at least some of those watching are just a few steps away from a safer, better life and helping others to recognise the signs that a friend, neighbour or family member might be in trouble.

Available as both a single film or as a companion-piece to Channel 5’s arresting documentary The Abused.

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Screener: How To Leave An Abusive Relationship